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Greek Nazi Merkel photos 'trivialise' holocaust
Photo: DPA

Greek Nazi Merkel photos 'trivialise' holocaust

Published: 10 Mar 2012 12:58 GMT+01:00
Updated: 10 Mar 2012 12:58 GMT+01:00

Yaakov Hadas-Handelsman, the new Israeli ambassador to Germany, has condemned photos of Chancellor Merkel and other German politicians in Nazi uniform that appeared in Greek newspapers last month.

Speaking to the Bild newspaper, the new ambassador - who took up his post in Berlin on Friday - said he was deeply shocked by the photos. The pictures "trivialise" the Nazi period, said Hadas-Handelsman in an interview published Saturday.

"They’re just terrible!" said Hadas-Handlesman, referring to pictures published by the populist Greek newspaper Dimokratia of Merkel in a Nazi uniform with the subtitle Memorandum makes you free.

The headline referred to a memo for the savings program European Union negotiators had worked out with cash-strapped Greece. The makes you free was a direct reference to a sign above concentration camps that cynically declared: work makes you free.

"Pictures like that trivialize the Nazi period," said the Israeli ambassador. "The Holocaust and National Socialism were unique. They were the worst times in the history of mankind."

Hadas-Handlesman himself lost almost all of his family on his father's side during the Holocaust. "Over the course of a week they were all rounded up, sent to Treblinka and murdered at once," the ambassador said.

Present day commentators should never make comparisons to the Nazi period as this "mocks millions of victims," added Hadas-Handlesman.

DPA/The Local/jlb

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Your comments about this article

16:06 March 10, 2012 by derExDeutsche
The ambassador isn't wrong. Fortunately, there isn't a Holocaust, and there is no military offensive. Which makes everything seem more like USSR. As the European Union looks more and more like the Soviet Union, Lenin would have been a better example. However, Lenin doesn't quite pack the same force in Germany as a good ol' fashioned Nazi comparison. Were it the French, it may well have been a Napoleon comparison.

the is no getting around it, Union has been tried before by some very famous names
20:01 March 10, 2012 by Sayer
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:50 March 10, 2012 by morel
Why doesn't the ambassador address his comments directly to the Greek editor of the newspaper in question?
23:22 March 10, 2012 by ovalle3.14
I think this never ending guilt trip about anything Holocaust related, is an attempt to justify the status quo of things ranging from Germany financing others' debts, to Israel clearly violating international laws regarding Palestine.
00:38 March 11, 2012 by tommy2shoes
Simply the birthing pangs of the soon to be "The Fourth Reich" finale.....
01:34 March 11, 2012 by siba
No matter what Germany does, it is seen as wrong or bad. If it bails out Greece the strings attached are seen as domination, if it excludes Greece from the Euro-zone, the same... The UK is just egocentric not caring about Greece at all since it is not part of the Eurozone. France does not want to take responsibility either. So Germany has to deal with everything and is put into this role- and then is bashed for it... a classical double bind. Germany deserves much more credit!

If Germany would just let go like many other European countries, Greece would not be part of the EU anymore. So Greek people, think carefulle who you blame for a situation which was caused by a corrupt Greek political and economic system.
06:11 March 11, 2012 by GermanMonarchist
How dare those Greeks do this!

It's not like the Germans invaded and terrorized greece in War World II...... Oh wait
08:17 March 11, 2012 by Bigfoot76
Correct me if I am wrong but without Germany right here and now, Greece would have no fiscal policy because it would be completely bankrupt. No money means no need for fiscal policy because there is nothing to spend.

Do they have the right to produce such pictures? Sure and Germany also has the right to stop bailing out Greece and watch as the country caves in and becomes nothing more than a memory. I wonder what photos they would produce then.

It was a very classless move by the Greeks which reflects more on them than it does on Merkel or any other politician not that I support them. To bring up the war constantly is just a sorry attempt to lash out. Honestly, 2000 years from now will they still be talking about what happend during world war 2? It was awful, it effected millions upon millions of people, it is history.

Should Greece also bring up the fact that in 30 BC The Romans Conquered all of their country? The next photos to be released will be of General Sulla wearing a Nazi Uniform.
09:17 March 11, 2012 by hereward
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
10:19 March 11, 2012 by Navigator_B
Israel has been trivialising the holocaust for decades by portaying its enemies as Nazis and itself as a victim facing annihilation. Only a few days ago in a major speech in Washington, prime minister Netanyahu compared Iran to Nazi Germany. Iran is supposed to be planning to make nuclear weapons even though no evidence has been produced for this, just like Saddam Hussain was supposed to have weapons of mass destruction that could be fired at Israel. 
10:38 March 11, 2012 by Harry Grouse
dimokratia is Dim in the brain
11:17 March 11, 2012 by Nenya
Bigfoot_ when it comes to "classless moves", German papers weren't exactly behind schedule, with their Venus of Milo flipping people off!

Greece has a different perception of history; societal memory is very long. References to the times of the Iliad (900 BC) are common, so World War 2, to them, is like it happened yesterday.

Furthermore, given that Germany never actually paid Greece back for "borrowing"the money of the Bank of Greece during World War 2, they can be excused for thinking the chapter is not quite shut. I mean who on earth gives a person a loan when they haven't paid their debt back?

Greece is very far from perfect, and ennimity among nations is despicable.

Of all countries, if there is ONE that should understand solidarity and our common humanity, it is Germany, who had to bail out half of their own country in 1990. It is very sad when this greatness of understanding is recuperated by base, mean, and alltogether pathetic whingeing about "lazy and corrupt" X people and "heroic and kind" Z people. Our blood is universally red.
12:36 March 11, 2012 by Michael R
Tommy2shoes. .time to chuck out the Sun, and stop dreaming about the glories of Maggie Thatcher. The Greeks owe lots money, the Germans are asked to pay..what the F**K does the War have to do with anything here? You and your ilk are idiots. Why even bother spewing this childish rubbish on here?
13:19 March 11, 2012 by Englishted
@Michael R

"what the F**K does the War have to do with anything here?"

What the f##k do you think it about then?

Nazi uniforms,National Socialism, The Holocaust, are all mentioned in the article which are possibly related to the war.
15:24 March 11, 2012 by tommy2shoes
Dear Michael R.......I don't understand your thought....It just doesn't make sense....What does however, is that the modern Israel nations, UK and the USA go bankrupt, Germany leads the world with the Vatican....as the boss and the fourth reich starts ....There will be a strongman coming up very soon that will run the EC with a peaceful attitude at first. Then it will turn nasty and the fourth reich is on.....In the very end though, all of asia will come together with a 200 million man army and defeat the EU....after this time Christ will intervene ....What I say is prophecy from the Bible.....
16:46 March 11, 2012 by Sayer
The Holocaust and National Socialism were...the worst times in the history of mankind. Don't think so. That has to be Gaza, today.

Maybe a letter of complaint to the editor of Dimokratia would better 'make him free.'
19:35 March 11, 2012 by Englishted
@Sayer

The comment you have made would definitely win my vote as the stupidest most ill informed, uneducated ,piece of codswallop it has been my misfortune to read in any comment section of "The Local " in all the time I have been reading them.
22:01 March 11, 2012 by Sayer
The world has yet to see such horrific scenes as these http://youtu.be/TxdaHM7rgag perpetrated by a society that calls itself democratic, its army moral, and its nation chosen by the Divine. How's that Englishted, for codswallop? Proud to see what your country paid for?
23:43 March 11, 2012 by wood artist
Setting aside the "hidden meaning" of the picture and headline, the facts remain simple. The Greeks have two choices.

Choice one is to accept responsibility for their own inability to govern. That would require them to acknowledge, both individually and as a society, that they simply can't figure out the math of revenue supporting spending, and they are now paying the price for that limitation.

Choice two is to blame someone for their dire straits. Germany is handy, since they're the ones making the Greeks own up to their shortcomings. So...Blame Germany.

Given that no one really likes self-examination, especially when you already know the outcome won't be favorable to your personal habits, it's always easier to be a victim and blame something or someone else. Obviously, the whole thing is Germany's fault, and obviously that means Merkel must be guilty.

It's not really all that hard to see where this comes from.

wa
08:20 March 12, 2012 by Englishted
@Sayer,

Yes I think Israel has a right to exist, until the people in Gaza stop sending rockets and also say that Israel can exist there will be no peace,yes Israel must also stop building outside it's own land.

But to equate this with The Holocaust and National Socialism, is codswallop and if you knew anything about history you yourself would agree.
16:11 March 12, 2012 by green idea factory
The German government and people do both good and bad things -- certainly military weapons and private automobile production and export are two of the very bad things.

Any comparison with Nazis (or Stalin, the Khmer Rouge, IDF, First Nations Genocide in the "Americas", current African colonialism and so on... ) is more of an apples and oranges thing than an "as bad as" thing, otherwise the comparisons are too simplistic.

As a Jew whose family was also partly wiped out in the Holocaust I am embarrassed by the words of Ambassador Hadas-Handelsman. I agree that "the Holocaust and National Socialism were unique" but for him to say "They were the worst times in the history of mankind." is not just a trivializing of the suffering of the groups I allude to above, it is simply an ignorant statement made for the benefit of his bosses and similar right-wingers back home. I hope that the German govt. will protest that part of this statement.... if they don't, well, it's just another bad thing about Germany.
20:46 April 9, 2012 by victor_Lagadia
The plain, simple and brutal truth of what is happening today in Greece and the Mediterranean plus of course Ireland.

Germany is unleashing armaggedon for the third time in its history. Germany has a pre-meditated plan for killing Greece and Greeks, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Ireland. What it did not achieve through two world wars, it is trying to achieve by creating pre-meditated genocide through financial extermination this time. Of course traitors and criminals Papandreou, Papademos, Venizelos, Papakonstantinou arranged to sell their country off to Germany, Goldman Sachs ­ the criminal banking corporation and the IMF while receiving huge personal payouts of black money, while at the same time purposefully burgeoning the budget deficit from 7.6% to 13.7% in order to install the criminals of Troika in Greece and of course to receive the famous bailouts which are paying only interest and accruals of the loans - none of the money going into the Greek economy. Be sure, soon enough these people will hang in Syntagma square in Athens a punishment only fit for their crimes against humanity and of high treason. This will be a clear message from Greece and a resounding one to all people who betray and sell their country to financial gangsters. Greece will bring back democracy for the benefit of all. The reality in Greece is such at the moment that 1,427,654 people are unemployed out of a workforce of 3 million meaning that the true unemployment rate is 42%. 654,000 people are homeless, 120 deaths approximately per day from malnutrition, poverty and starvation, no medication or medicines in hospital and pharmacies, 10 suicides per day due to financial crisis and financial genocide unleashed by Germany and its parochial paroxysm of calvinist discipline and austerity. Downtown Athens is seeing horrific scenes of hunger and starvation - children walking around with projected stomachs and bellies - yellow from malnutrition and lack of essential vitamins, pensioners and entire families walking around with tattered clothing, barefoot, scavenging in dustbins for their food while others are killing pigeons, birds, stray cats and dogs to survive while our traitor government pays back the money it stole - not the Greek populace - to the banks and to the corrupt and criminal and genocidal indoctrinated bureaucracy in Brussels and Berlin. Greece is facing an unprecedented humanitarian catastrophe.

Greece is calling for the entire population in Europe to rise up against the immoral and criminal unregulated banking elite and its people demand a declaration of war unto Germany.
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